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Mauk delivers extensive report of BCRAGD activities to board

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

General Manager Dave Mauk presented an in-depth quarterly report to the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District's board of directors during their April 5 meeting.

According to Mauk, the BCRAGD registered 22 new wells and issued two permits during the last quarter.

The district's monitor wells showed an average decline of 35.6 feet in the Middle Trinity Aquifer from July 2011 to January 2012. The Lower Trinity showed an average increase of 18 feet. The rise was due to 1.3 to 1.8 inches of rainfall on Oct. 8, 2011 which reduced pumping, allowing the water level to rise in the wells, Mauk reported.

The district maintains 40 monitor wells across Bandera County.

Regarding nuisance complaints, Mauk reported to the district's board that the contaminated well in Lakehills is still under active investigation. The district drilled a monitor well near the site of the well that had tested positive for numerous toxic chemicals. No toxins have been detected in the 118-foot monitor well. "Continued diligence and surveillance will be required in this situation," said Mauk.

A Waste of Water complaint filed by the district against the Flying L Ranch has resulted in a notice of violation issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The state agency cited the ranch for unlawful use of state water, delivering water down banks and beds, and diverting and impounding state water without a permit.

A Usage Violation filed by the district against the Flying L Ranch Water Park has been referred to TCEQ for enforcement. The Texas Department of Health is investigating the possible violation.

Multiple abandoned wells found in the county have been referred to the TDL&R (Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation).

Several instances of illegal dumping have been referred to TCEQ and are under active investigation, said Mauk.

"Illegal dumping is a major problem affecting water quality and quality of life," said Mauk. He is hoping to work with county commissioners to develop a free dump day for non-household waste and "to study the feasibility of having hazardous household chemicals disposed of legally."

The district is also conducting an active investigation of one possible violation of well construction and design.

Mauk reported that the USGS gauge installed on the Medina recently already provided a valuable service during heavy rains that fell March 19-20. "We were able to monitor the rising of the river on the computer," said Mauk. "That gave emergency personnel time to issue orders to evacuate low-lying areas." Residents can find a link to the gauge on the water district's webpage. They can also subscribe to receive phone alerts in case of flooding.

Mauk said that despite all the greenery and wildflowers due to that rainfall, "we're still in a severe drought. The rain did very little to replenish the aquifers."